Councillors demand apology after candidate makes accusations

Members of Castlegar City Council are upset over recent public statements made by a council candidate in the current by-election.

Members of Castlegar City Council are upset over recent public statements made by a council candidate in the current by-election, and are asking for an apology or proof of allegations.

During the all-candidate forum held at the Castlegar Complex last week, candidate Cherryl MacLeod accused the current council of discussing important public matters behind closed doors during in camera meetings.

“You pretty much only have to sit there once and you know that when they come out and you sit and watch, the decisions have been made for the most part… Some of those decisions don’t involve personnel, property and legal, which is what the practice should be. They have made their mind up for the most part about lots of things I would venture most things,” said MacLeod at the forum, attended by approx. 175 people on Oct. 12.

Now some of the city’s councillors are demanding an apology and stating that if MacLeod has proof that council is not being open and transparent and has a legitimate complaint against them she should take it to authorities.

“If Ms. MacLeod has some sort of information about in camera meetings I suggest she contact the ministry responsible for local government or the ombudsman’s office,” said Councillor Dan Rye. “To make this type of public statement and not back it up should not be tolerated. A public apology to each council member and senior staff is in order at the very least.”

MacLeod also stated at the public forum how she felt that closed meetings at council aren’t just about personnel, property and legal issues.

“I would also like to see that the closed part of the meeting actually only involves personnel, property and legal by definition, that is what a closed council meeting should be, anything else other than those three things should be discussed in public,” she said.

Some members of council felt that MacLeod’s allegations were unjustified.

“I think it is not only unfair, but irresponsible for a council candidate to be levelling accusations at us that have no foundation other than a gut feeling,” said Florio Vassilikakis.

Other councillors defended their own integrity, as well as the integrity of the city’s senior staff.

“There is not a person sitting at the table that does not take the oath of office seriously,” said Councillor Deb McIntosh. “We have staff sitting at the table that have the utmost integrity, professionalism and above all else, the community’s best interest at heart.”

“I am very confident that we and our staff are following the legislation,” said Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “We all take an oath of office, and I for one take that very seriously.”

According to Section 89 of the B.C. Local Government Act: (1) A meeting of a council must be open to the public, except as provided in this Division. (2) A council must not vote on the reading or adoption of a bylaw when its meeting is closed to the public.”

Section 90 goes on to specify when a meeting may be or must be closed to the public due to the subject matter. According to the Act, a meeting may be closed to the public if it involves personal information about an individual being considered for employment, labour relations, acquisition and disposition of city property, law enforcement, litigation, advice subject to solicitor-client privilege, and the consideration of whether a council meeting should be closed or not, among other things.

A meeting must be closed to the public if it involves a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, confidential information relating to negotiations between the City and the Provincial or Federal Government, a matter being investigated under the Ombudperson Act, or a review of a proposed final performance audit report.

Councillors Rye, McIntosh, Heaton-Sherstobitoff and Vassilikakis all responded to a request for comment from the Castlegar News, denying the allegations made against them. Councillor Bruno Tassone responded saying he was “unable to answer any questions regarding in camera discussions.” As of press time the Castlegar News had not received a response from Mayor Lawrence Chernoff.

MacLeod was contacted several times and declined to comment.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Section of Arrow Lakes Drive temporarily closed Tuesday due to downed line

Motorists were driving over the cable without knowing if it was electrified

Kootenay mom turns COVID lockdown into positive action

Take a Hike runs from the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre in East Trail

Totem pole considered cultural appropriation removed from Nelson’s Hume School

The pole had also become rotted and was seen as dangerous to students

Ootischenia man fined for driving vehicle held together by bungee cord

Vehicle also had improper plates and no insurance

Rossland resident Aerin Bowers completes 19-km swim along Christina Lake

Bowers said her dad inspired her to complete the epic adventure

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Kootenay yearling released into northern wild

Photos: Scroll to the bottom of the story to see Kenzo’s release

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Most Read